EPA to Host Arsenic Affordability Webinar

EPA to Host Arsenic Affordability Webinar

EPA is hosting a web “meeting” to discuss the Congressional direction that the Agency form a workgroup and develop a report on actions to make alternative compliance methods more accessible to small water systems and a report on alternative affordability criteria.

DATE:  March 2, 2012

TIME:  1:00-4:00pm (eastern)

REGISTER:  https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/679236510.

After registering you will receive a confirmation email with a web link.  This link will be unique to you and will give you a direct access to the web meeting and audio.  If your computer has both speakers and a microphone, this link will be all you need to participate in the web meeting.  The confirmation email also will give you a meeting ID and a dial-in phone number if you prefer to use your telephone for the audio portion and the computer for the presentations.  See below for a copy of the draft agenda.

If you have questions about the meeting, please contact Russ Perkinson at perkinson.russ@epa.gov

Arsenic Small Systems Work Group draft organizational meeting draft agenda


Kentucky Makes Small System Awards

Kentucky’s Capacity Development Coordinator, Julie Smoak, deserves great kudos for bringing her state program together with Community Action of Kentucky (through RCAP) to find funding to help small drinking water systems.  The new program identifies small systems in need of “TMF” assistance based on factors such as equipment, training, and office management, that are not regulated but that will help them improve their performance.

Please see the letter attached at the end of this message that describes the program in greater detail.

cap dev NR (2)



AWWA Infrastructure Report Issues Call to Action

AWWA has published a new report stating that, “The massive investment needed for buried drinking water infrastructure in the United States totals more than $1 trillion between now and 2035. The cost of that investment to repair and expand US drinking water infrastructure will be met primarily through higher water bills and local fees, costing some households in small communities as much as $550 more a year…”

Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge” is a call to action for utilities, consumers and policy makers and recognizes that the need to replace pipe in the ground “puts a growing stress on communities that will continue to increase for decades to come.” They will be affected in different ways depending on their size and geography. Many small communities will face the greatest challenges because they have fewer people to support the expenses.

Some of the key findings in “Buried No Longer” include:

  • The needs are large. The cost of replacing pipes at the end of their useful lives will total more than $1 trillion nationwide between 2011 and 2035 and exceed $1.7 trillion by 2050.
  • Household water bills will go up. Although water bills will vary by community size and geographic region, for some communities the infrastructure costs alone could triple the size of a typical family’s bill.
  • The costs keep coming. Infrastructure renewal investments are likely to be incurred each year over several decades. For that reason, many utilities may choose to finance infrastructure replacement on a “pay-as-you-go” basis rather than through debt financing.

The report includes more than 35 tables and graphs detailing information by region and utility size. For example, the graphs for utilities in the West show that the investment for growth is consistently greater than that required for replacement through 2050, while just the opposite is true for utilities in the Northeast.

ASDWA recommends that states and other water community partners with an interest in sustainable small systems read this interesting analysis.


Please note that if you have questions about the EPA RFA process for training and technical assistance as small public water systems (see February 23 post), you should email your requests to Steve Hogye at smallsystemRFA@epa.gov.  Please do not use Steve’s personal email address.  The same request applies for Tribal RFA questions.  Contact Nicole Schindler at tribalsystemRFA@epa.gov   Questions must be received by March 30, 2012.  Responses will be posted on EPA’s website:   http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/sdwa/smallsystemsrfa.cfm

EPA Posts Training/TA Award Opportunity

ASDWA has just learned that EPA is posting two “Request for Applications” (RFAs) today that make $15 million available on a competitive basis to provide training and technical assistance to small water and wastewater systems, onsite and decentralized wastewater systems, and private well owners.

The application deadline is April 9, 2012.  For more information – including instructions for the application process – go to: http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/sdwa/smallsystemsrfa.cfm.  EPA expects to award the cooperative agreements in the summer of 2012.

Eligible applicants are defined as nonprofit organizations, nonprofit private universities and colleges, and public institutions of higher education.  Eligible recipients of the training and technical assistance are small public water systems, small publicly-owned wastewater systems, communities served by onsite/ decentralized wastewater systems, and owners of private wells.
Of the $15 million total, EPA expects to make up to $500,000 available for training and technical assistance to tribally-owned and operated public water systems that are geographically located within EPA Region 6, 8 and 9 states where EPA has primacy responsibilities under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

If you have any questions about the public water system portion of this process, please contact Steve Hogye (see corrected post) at hogye.stephen@epa.gov.  If you have questions about the tribal RFA, please contact Nicole Schindler at schindler.nicole@epa.gov.  Questions must be received by March 30, 2012.  Responses will be posted on EPA’s website at http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/sdwa/smallsystemsrfa.cfm.

Drinking Water Advisory Toolbox

On February 14, ASDWA and AWWA cohosted a webinar designed to showcase a new Drinking Water Advisory Toolbox.  This Toolbox provides a protocol and practical guide for communicating with stakeholders and the public about water advisories that is based upon research and identified practices. It is designed to supplement – not replace – information that systems may already have such as the PN Handbook or a CCR template.  The Toolbox offers a comprehensive “how to” manage effective communication before, during, and after an event or situation that warrants communicating with consumers, customers, and commercial users.

You can download the Toolbox, the powerpoint slides, and view the webinar recording from the ASDWA website at http://www.asdwa.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageId=606

The Drinking Water Advisory Toolbox project was a collaborative effort among ASDWA, AWWA, CDC, USEPA, ASTHO, and NEHA.  If you have any comments or feedback about the Toolbox, CDC has agreed to take the lead for all of the involved organizations.  Please send your thoughts, suggestions or reactions to Catherine Hough at CHough@cdc.gov.

RCAP to Reward Your Creativity

The RCAP eBulletin, that shares useful security- and management-related information for drinking water or wastewater systems every three weeks, is considering a change…and they’re looking for your creative input to be part of the process.

Later this year, the eBulletin will get a new look, which RCAP believes also deserves a new name. They are looking for their readers to submit ideas for a new name.  Each subscriber to the eBulletin newsletter may submit one name.  Just click here to Submit your entry. Include your first and last name and your location in your email. The contest will continue through the publication date for the March issue, and the new name will be announced in the April issue. The winning name will be chosen based on its relevance to the purpose of this newsletter and RCAP’s mission. The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to an online retailer!


ABC Needs Volunteers

The Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) is seeking volunteers to participate in passing score studies that will determine the passing scores of its newly developed standardized Water Treatment, Collection, and Distribution certification exams. The input of certified operators working in these fields is needed to ensure that ABC certification exams administered across North America appropriately distinguish between certification candidates who are minimally competent and those who are not.

ABC is looking to identify volunteers who represent the diversity of geography as well as facility and system types and sizes of the industry. To qualify for participation, a volunteer must:

+  Be a certified Water Treatment, Collection, or Distribution Operator at a level equivalent to ABC’s Class I, II, III, or IV certification.

+  Sign a non‐disclosure agreement.

+  Have access to the necessary materials.

+  Be able to commit to participation in each of the passing score study activities, including the scheduled webinars.

The final panel of volunteers for this project will be selected from volunteer applicants to best represent theiversity of the industry.  Please click on the link below to learn more about this subject and to download the volunteer application form.

Passing Score Study Information and Application 020912

‘Water We Drink’ Website Has New Articles

The Water We Drink: Small Community Outreach Campaign, which offers information about maintaining safe, sustainable, and secure water supplies in small and rural communities, has several articles written especially for those who oversee local water and wastewater services. The articles may be downloaded at no charge and used for educational purposes, such as reprinting in newsletters and magazines, training sessions, and websites.

The Water We Drink website (www.nesc.wvu.edu/waterwedrink) is a joint effort by the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the National Environmental Services Center (NESC), located at West Virginia University, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The two latest articles are:

“Making Sure It All Adds Up: Financial Accounting for Small Water and Wastewater Systems” describes the importance of sound financial accounting practices for managing and maintaining water and wastewater systems, and offers 10 recommendations for improving your financial management approach.

“Communities, Water Sources and Potential Impacts of Shale Gas Development” describes the challenges a community may encounter as a result of shale gas development and offers suggestions for protecting your community and water sources from potential negative impacts.

Additional articles and educational products addressing a wide variety of water issues—such as source water protection, capital improvements planning, setting water and sewer rates, pharmaceuticals and personal care products in our waters, impending labor shortages, water and energy, and aging infrastructure—are also available on the website.

NESC encourages you use the materials and to complete The Water We Drink’s new online survey to let us know how you’re using them at http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/waterwedrink/. The Water We Drink project strives to raise awareness about crucial water issues and solutions, and invites everyone to use the articles and resources to support or complement state and local efforts.

For more information, contact Sandra Fallon at NESC (304) 293-6897 or sfallon at mail.wvu.edu.

Another Water Jobs Database

ASDWA has heard from Steve Wilson of smallwatersupply.org that they have located an additional resource for drinking water and wastewater operators in search of a position.  (Editor’s Note:  See the original article “Where to Search for Operator Jobs” posted February 10)   Brown and Caldwell has created BCWaterJobs that allows the registered user to search for available positions in the drinking water/wastewater industry or post a resume.  Take a look…http://bcwaterjobs.force.com/ListJobs